Help help with Frequent Flyer programs!

May 4th, 2009, 03:01 AM
  #1  
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Help help with Frequent Flyer programs!

I am embarassed to admit that despite being a very frequent traveller I do not really belong to any program and am very confused by them. I do have an Alitalia Mille Miglia card but have never used it. I would like to sign up for one of those that encompass a lot of airlines but I'm not sure which. Does anyone have any suggestions on which would be the best deal for me?
I generally pick the cheapest airline that flies direct to my destination. I hardly ever stay in big chain hotels so not really looking for that kind of advantage. I travel to Europe, Asia, US, Pacific, South America.....
Any advice? Thanks.
carrom is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 03:01 AM
  #2  
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Sorry forgot to mention I mainly fly out of Italy.
carrom is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 04:47 AM
  #3  
 
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Most major airlines belong to a world wide alliances. The 3 major alliances are:www. oneworld.com, www.staralliance.com and www.skyteam.com. Check out each site, read up about their rules, see which alliance best fits your need and then come back with specific questions. There are just so many different rules and regulations that differ between the alliances and to make it more confusing between the airlines within the alliance.

The main point is to understand what FF programs are. They are designed to get your loyalty and fly specific airlines. Sometimes the ticket may be little more expensive, the routing not as convenient but at the end the rewards can be worth every extra dollar you spent or the few hours wasted if you need to connect in order to use one of the partners of the alliance.

If you will hop around from airline to airline regardless what airline it is just to save few bucks on occasion then perhaps the FF program is not for you.

In order to get any status with any alliance you are required to fly at least 25K miles for the lowest status, 50K miles for mid status and 100K miles for the top status and you have to do it every calendar year in order to retain your status.

If you just want to collect miles then sign up with every airline you plan on flying. It's free to sign up but most airlines require to have an activity on your account every 18 months or you will lose your saved miles.

Free tickets range from 20K(domestic, economy) all the way up to 300K miles or maybe more(international first class) in some cases.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 04:55 AM
  #4  
 
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And just to give you a perspective of what's required of you to get status, here is a simple long haul routing. Rome-Los Angeles R/T is ~12.5K miles total, so just to get the lowest status, you would need 2 of these trips a year. The worst part? Some of the lowest fares on many of the airlines earn .5 per mile flown or no miles at all when flying on the super economy fares.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 05:06 AM
  #5  
 
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Good advice from AAFF.

A couple of useful websites for you to lurk and pick up pointers are www.flyertalk.com, and if you're just getting into the FF game, have a look through http://www.freefrequentflyermiles.com and http://www.webflyer.com - the latter has excellent summaries of the various major airline FF programs, to give you a quick overview and user/editor rankings.

Where do you live? It may make sense to see which carrier is dominant in your home airport, which could make it easier earning miles with most trips.
Gardyloo is online now  
May 4th, 2009, 08:32 AM
  #6  
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Hmm, thank-you. It is complicated and maybe, as you say not for me. I've looked at the web sites and predictably I've travelled with most of the airlines and would need to sign up to all three! I also checked out Gardyloo's advice and discovered that maybe I should do something with my rerwards scheme on Amex. I live in Italy but don't use Alitalia that much lately. I am planning a long trip to Australia/New Zealand/Bali and thought I should get all this sorted out before getting my tickets. Thanks - I'll get busy on this info.
carrom is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 04:58 PM
  #7  
 
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I don't travel as much as I would like but I get my miles from my credit card - a Delta American Express. I also have a Chase rewards Master card. I get miles from the AmEx, and the points I get from the master can be used for just about anything - I just used points for a plane ticket. And, I have a bunch of miles - not the kind that get me status, but, they get me miles. I have heard of folks that pay for EVERYTHING, including their taxes, with their credit card. I don't do that, but my system seems to work. Delta just had a promotion going on where if you bought miles they would give you 2 for 1. So, I bought miles for the family, who already had some. The price for the miles was less than buying a ticket outright, so my ticket to Belize was free, bought with reward points, and for the rest of the family, the tickets were about half price.

The folks over on Frequent Flyer get very upset at these ways of getting miles, many of them feel that miles should be earned with your butt on the plane, but, it works for me.

I wanted to say that there are many ways to get miles, not just by flying. I ended up with Delta, because they seem to go where I want to go, at the best times for me. Where I live is a United hub, but Delta has a lot of flights from there also. I am signed up with United, and British Air as well, just in case - why not, since it's free.
Momliz is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 06:05 PM
  #8  
 
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"... would need to sign up to all three ..."

Yes, do that. Sign up for the FF program for the airline you use most in each of the three major alliances.

Until you learn which airlines are in which alliances, you should have all three numbers handy. When you book a ticket, then you can tell the agent which programs you are in and then ask you for the correct number.

The airlines don't send much, if any, junk snail-mail. They do send a lot of e-mail but you can set it up so that they don't do it so much.

I belong to at least a dozen airlines' FF programs
mrwunrfl is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 11:48 PM
  #9  
 
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What I suggested would mean that your miles would be spread around, but I thought it might make it easy for you.

But at least sign up with the program on the airline that you are likely to fly the most miles. When that airline's fares are not competitive for a trip, or they don't go where you want, then see if one of their partners is/does before you book.
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May 5th, 2009, 01:56 AM
  #10  
 
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Important FF rule - also mentioned by AAFF - miles expire - unless there is activity on an account. So think if you can consolidate your travel onto a couple of airlines/alliances and if it is worth a slightly higher price per ticket you my pay to do so. Then consider getting a credit card attached to one of these programs - check the fee on the card to see if it is worth it - and use this as your primary credit card.
gail is offline  
May 5th, 2009, 11:18 AM
  #11  
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It's a whole new world! I just discovered I have thousands of points on my amex - almost enough to get 2 of us to Australia! However because I don't use agencies and book all tickets myself on the internet I can't always use my amex because the person travelling has to carry the card used to pay for the tickets. So if I buy flights for the family I have to pay for them with prepaid cards which doesn't earn me any points!
How frustrating!
carrom is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 01:49 PM
  #12  
aby
 
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1 A "strategic" decision: American or non-American partner
what's the difference?
in most American companies miles do not expire as long as you
have an activity once in 18 months (some 12 or even 24 months)
European airlines (& others) usually have a 3 year expiration.

BTW 'activity' may mean not only flight/hotel/rent-a-car, but also credit-card points or even a 10$ purchase, or playing certain games (e.g. http://club.live.com/Pages/Home/HomePage.aspx )

2 choose according to your credit-card (or decide on a CC type according to preferred airline)

3 not all partners in an alliance are equal:
examples:
in SkyTeam -
Air France has more airline-partners than Alitalia
in Star Alliance -
Lufthansa is superior when it comes airline-partners
in One World -
American Airlines gives more choice of partner-airlines

4 choose according to specific terms and conditions
for an example if you always need a ticket for a partner who is not a family member. some allow that, some do not
If you have such a condition, instead of reading all airlines' conditions, post a new thread!
another example: i think British Airlines has a family account, where a few family members can share miles. this unique condition may suit some people

aby
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May 6th, 2009, 02:05 PM
  #13  
aby
 
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The best is first to decide which airlines you are using and then look for the FF program
(no reason to book all 3 alliances in advance)

example: suppose you fly Qantas to Aus & NZ
it is a member of Oneworld so you can natually compare
Qantas to AA to BA etc'
but you may also choose a non-OneWorld company !!
if you look closely at Qantas (or any other company's) site, you'll see other partners. for example Qantas has SAS (a Star Alliance company) as a partner
or you can choose Alitalia which belongs to the SkyTeam group
aby is offline  

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